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Ethiopia’s PM declines IGAD mediation in Tigray crisis

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Sudan's PM Abdalla Hamdok and Ethiopia's PM Abiy Ahmed arrive for the opening of the 33rd Ordinary Session of the African Union in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Feb. 9, 2020. (REUTERS Photo)
November 9, 2020 (KHARTOUM) - The Ethiopian Prime Minister, Abiy Ahmed, declined a regional mediation by the IGAD leader to mediate the six-day armed conflict between the federal government and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF).

The Hikayat newspaper reported on Monday that Hamdok who is also the head of the Intergovernmental Authority for Development (IGAD) spoke four times by telephone with Ahmed seeking to convince him to accept the mediation of the regional body.

"But, the Ethiopian Prime Minister said the conflict in the Tigray region was an internal affair that should not be internationalized," reported the local newspaper citing a source from Hamdok office.

On November 30, 2019, IGAD leaders elected the Sudanese prime minister as chairman of the East African block.

The UNOCHA office in Ethiopia on Saturday called to ensure unfiltered access to the affected recalling that Tigray region is home to approximately 600,000 people dependent on food relief assistance, in addition to 1 million people who receive safety-net assistance.

In a separate development on Sunday, Ahmed removed the foreign minister, his army chief of staff, and the head of the intelligence service.

He appointed the Deputy Prime Minister Demeke Mekonnen Foreign Minister, Deputy Army Chief Birhanu Jula was promoted to Army Chief Of Staff, while the former President of the Amhara region Temesgen Tiruneh was named new Intelligence Chief.

The tension between the federal government and Tigray’s ruling party (TPLF) has been escalating after the organization of regional elections on 9 September despite the official postponement in the whole country due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The armed clashes erupted on 4 November when the Ethiopian army accused the TPLF elements of attacking a military base in near Mekelle airport.

(ST)

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